Nicaragua Selva Negra. Truly. Sustainable.

Nicaragua Selva Negra Coffee From Stockton GrahamWhen you step off the bus onto the Nicaragua Selva Negra coffee estate, you’ve reached an amazing place.

Lush rainforest landscapes are vibrant with mums, gladioli, lilies, baby breath, daisies and roses. Cows, goats, turkey, quail and chicken roam through grassy pastures. These are the creatures that Selva Negra’s 300+ year-round workers tend, cultivating them for meat, milk, cream and eggs for the estate’s restaurant and in the workers’ kitchens. Farm-generated methane and hydro-electric power from ponds fuel lights, stoves and classrooms.

“Our goal is to be self-sufficient in everything,” Eddy Kühl, who owns and oversees the estate along with his wife Mausi, told me. “We produce green coffee for export, roasted coffee, milk, cheese, hams, vegetables, poultry and eggs. We produce methane gas for cooking and have solar heaters. Our bottleneck was the expensive, national energy power, but recently we finished building our own hydroelectric power turbine, and we are looking forward to a wind-powered energy system.”

Selva Negra Coffee Community Foundation Stockton GrahamA leader in sustainable farming since 1975, the Selva Negra Estate is recognized for producing exceptional Rainforest Alliance coffee and for its work to spread sustainable farming practices around the world through its not-for-profit Selva Negra Community Foundation. The foundation, headed by Mausi Kühl, has been working with farmers in Nicaragua to reclaim land laid to waste by toxic pesticides, deforestation and unsustainable farming practices. To date, the Selva Negra Community Foundation has made a significant impact by providing free education, resources and on-site training. Visit to learn more.

Stockton Graham & Co. began working with the Selva Negra community several years ago. In 2013, our roasting team spent some time on the estate, where they explored organic farming, the estate’s milling process and the vast social, medical, educational, professional and cultural services Selva Negra provides estate workers and their families. During that visit, we provided estate management with insight on the US coffee market and consumer preferences, as well as donated computers, school books and more.

As we set our sights on Earth Day 2016, which is on Friday April 22, we’re appreciating truly sustainable coffees like our Nicaragua Selva Negra. “This is truly the most sustainable coffee farm I have ever visited,” said Brandon Riggs, roastmaster for Stockton Graham Coffees and Dilworth Coffee. “The Kühl’s commitment to the land, their coffee, and their people is inspiring and serves as an excellent example of what coffee culture can be – both at origin and for the end consumer.”

Sustainability in Coffee Stockton Graham Nicaragua Selva Negra is Sustainable












Truly sustainable coffee

Rainforest Alliance CoffeeIt is grown using time-tested pesticide-free native Nicaraguan growing methods and boasts a Rainforest Alliance certification. Because the coffee is shade grown in the Matagalpa highlands, it is also bird friendly although it does not carry the official certification. However, it has been recognized by the Specialty Coffee Association for its sustainability practices, has received a Q Auction rating and the Rainforest Alliance Cupping for Quality Award.

Nicaragua Selva Negra Stockton Graham Coffee RoastersStockton Graham & Co. directly imports the coffee through Atlanta-based JavaVino. This small, independent business is run by Eddy and Mausi’s daughter, Heddy, her husband Steve and two sons. As the name suggests, JavaVino specializes in coffee and wine; but it also runs a café that serves breakfast, sandwiches and desserts, as well as event space for meetings, weddings and parties.

The care that everyone puts into growing, processing and importing Nicaragua Selva Negra Estate Coffee shines in the taste. Right from the start, brewed coffee emits the mouth-watering aroma of honey and caramel. Drinking the coffee is just as pleasurable. The cup’s creamy body is the perfect foundation for its milk chocolate flavors. As the coffee cools in the cup, you’ll begin to taste the depth of flavors from toasted caramel to sweet berry undertones.

Cupping Attributes: Nicaragua Selva Negra

Aroma: Honey, caramel
Body: Medium, creamy
Flavor: Sweet, chocolate, toasty
Acidity: Mildly bright, balanced
Aftertaste: Pleasant, sweet, smooth

Grounds for Health Blend Stockton Graham & CoThis fine example of Nicaraguan coffee is also featured in our Grounds for Health Blend, which raises money for vital healthcare for women who work on coffee farms in Nicaragua, Peru and Ethiopia. Created in partnership with Grounds For Health, money raised from sale of the blend will provide cervical cancer screening and treatment to 15,000 women worldwide.

Download the one-pager on Nicaragua Selva Negra.

To order Nicaragua Selva Negra or Grounds for Health Blend, please call 800 835 5943.

Nicaragua Selva Negra is Back!

The best part of working at a coffee roastery is the morning. As you walk in, the aroma alone warms you. There’s no monotony in the ritual either, as there’s always something new in the roaster.Nicaragua Selva Negra from Stockton Graham

This week we’re working with Selva Negra, our coffee from Nicaragua. This beloved coffee has been away from us for almost a year, but it’s back and better than ever. We slipped some away from Friday’s roast to do a little sampling.

So what makes our Selva Negra so special? Here’s the lowdown:

 1. Selva Negra tastes great

Coffee fruit from La Hammonia Farm on Selva Negra EstateCoffee from Selva Negra is mostly the Arabica Bourbon varietal, mixed with some Caturra. The Bourbon varietal, named after the island of Bourbon where it was first cultivated, is fragile and doesn’t produce as many cherries as other varietals; but the coffee it does produce is sweet, lush and complex.

Caturra is a mutation of Bourbon discovered in Brazil. It is distinguished by its bright acidity and low-to-medium body. With less sweetness than its parent, Bourbon, the addition of the Caturra bean helps create a more balanced cup when brewed.

“Selva Negra produces a cup that balances a mild tanginess with a toasty sweetness,” said Brandon Riggs, head roastmaster for Stockton Graham & Co. in Raleigh, NC. “Its bright acidity gives way to a softly sweet yet brisk flavor.”

Riggs points to the coffee’s medium body and smooth mouth feel, a combination that is familiar to the American palate. “Our Selva Negra is a very accessible coffee with flavors of bright summer fruit and sweet milk chocolate. The sweet chocolate carries into a delicate finish.”

Selva Negra Coffee Logo Stockton Graham & Co.Cupping Attributes
Aroma: Honey, caramel
Body: Medium, creamy
Flavor: Sweet, chocolate, toasty
Acidity: Mildly bright, balanced
Aftertaste: Pleasant, sweet, smooth


Nicaragua Selva Negra AppellationTo bring out these flavors, we recommend brewing Selva Negra using a Bee House Ceramic Coffee Dripper. Use it with the Melitta #4 filter.

  • Water temperature between 195-205F
  • 16:1 (grams) water to coffee ratio
  • Drip Grind (Medium Grind)
  • 30 second bloom
  • 3 minute brew time

Tasting Notes: Creamy milk chocolate with a nutty pairing met with a bright acidity. For those who like a stronger body, this versatile coffee also does well with a Chemex or V60 and a finer grind.

 2. Selva Negra is truly sustainable

When I first started researching the Selva Negra coffee, which is shade grown, I was immediately immersed in its history.

Selva Negra Coffee roasted by Stockton Graham & Co. Selva Negra is grown on La Hammonia, a 1500-acre farm located in the Isabelia Sierra region of Matagalpa Nicaragua. The estate is run by Mausi Hayn Kühl and Eddy Kühl, who are decedents of the Bösche family from Germany who settled the land in the late 1800s.

The Kühl-Hayn family is so committed to ecological agriculture that it has preserved over 300 acres of the estate that features a vast virgin rain forest. The land also includes a mountain resort, howler monkeys, organic gardens, cattle and hiking trails. It is in this idyllic environment that Selva Negra coffee is grown, harvested, processed and dried.

Matriarch of the Selva Negra family, Mausi Kühl has devoted her life to innovative and sustainable practices, employee empowerment, and improving the quality of life for the people who work the coffee farms and process the coffee.

As a result, the La Hammonia farm on the Selva Negra estate is truly sustainable. Multiple reuse and conservation efforts make it a model coffee farm where nothing is wasted and every waste product is used to a benefit.

Sustainable Coffee Selva Negra“Selva Negra is pioneering new ways to minimize the use of industrial pesticides and herbicides,” Mausi proudly reports. “For example, we mulch the rows between the coffee trees with coffee husks and algae from the estate ponds to prevent weeds from taking root.

To repel pests we spray our plants, trees and veggies with tea-like solutions fortified by natural repellents which we grow ourselves, such as the seeds and leaves of the neem tree, madero, chili and garlic.”

Refuse from the community is composed and used as fertilizer for not only the coffee farm but for vast plots of corn, beans, tomatoes, onions and avocados that grow on the estate to feed the workers and their families. “We have so many California earthworms that we actually beg for trash because we don’t have enough to feed them with,” said daughter Heddy Kühl, who imports Selva Negra to the United States through her Atlanta-based store JavaVino.

“My mom is the dreamer behind Selva Negra,” Heddy says. “She’s the one that comes up with all the ideas. My father is an engineer, and together they host scientists, interns, and students. They’re the ones that implement and execute the designs my dad creates based off my mom’s ideas.”

This partnership helps support the local ecosystem, as well as provides means for the 200 employees who work there year round. During harvest season, that number can raise anywhere from 600 to 700 workers. Selva Negra not only feeds and houses the workers, but also provides medical care and schooling for the community.

“We offer school up until middle school, and after that, kids will either move on to a trade, or technical, school on campus,” Heddy Kühl said. “Otherwise, if they want to continue with school and have the grades to cut it, Selva Negra will sponsor them to go to the private high school in Matagalpa. They’ll even sponsor you through college.”

Take a visual tour of the coffee estate by clicking below.


3. Selva Negra is part of the Stockton Graham family

Stockton Graham & Co. has developed a strong personal relationship with the Kühls over the years. Our roasters and staff members have spent time at Selva Negra, and we are one of only two roasters in North Carolina with access to beans from the La Hammonia farm.

“When Heddy and her husband Steve opened their coffee shop, JavaVino, they toured the southeast region to talk to small roasters about buying Selva Negra,” said Stockton Graham roastmaster Brandon Riggs said. “We tasted the coffee and took a deep dive into their farming, processing and drying practices before we agreed to supply the coffee. Needless to say, we were very impressed.”

Stockton Graham Selva Negra PlantationIn addition to visiting the estate, Stockton Graham & Co. has provided textbooks and computers to Selva Negra schools. “As responsible roasters, we are actively involved in maintaining the quality of the coffee that we purchase, which includes making positive contributions to coffee-producing communities.”

If this is something you’re looking to be a part of, better buy the coffee soon because, as Heddy told me, what’s special about this crop is that there isn’t much of it. The Roya Fungus, a coffee rust, continues to hurt coffee production in South and Central America.

“The Roya is a coffee plague that’s hit Central America really hard so we’ve lost a large part of our crop,” she said. “Unfortunately, you have to pull up and dig out the trees that are infected.”

It’s this transparency, and these stories, that has really set apart the Selva Negra coffee and made our partnership with them meaningful. There’s still more to know and we encourage you, if you can, to take a trip out there or support them in any way.


To order Selva Negra coffee, call a Customer Care Associate at 800 835 5943 today.

Note: All photography courtesy of Selva Negra.